The anesthesiologist was a gardener.
While we waited for the surgeon to arrive, my mom looked oddly relaxed with her blue paper hair cap sitting at a jaunty angle on her head, and she talked flowers and rain with the doctor.
He talked about his wife's orchids.
She babied her beloved plants, keeping them well-watered and carefully tended.
For her trouble she got beautiful leaves and no flowers.
Finally, he intervened and (in typical male fashion, I think) researched the problem and advised neglect.
Stop watering them, he said.
Stop the pampering, and wait.
Wait and wait.
She grew nervous and nearly overruled him.
Then one day, a bud.
The plants, he said, needed stress to bloom.
Too much of a good thing, and they get so relaxed that they stop worrying about reproduction.
Contentment means no flowers, no seed, no offspring...and no beauty.
Standing in that cold hospital room, no beauty in sight, God took my breath away at that simple truth.
No stress means no beauty.
Daffodils need cold. Geraniums need dry feet. Not to be "happy"--to be distressed enough to flower.
This dry and quiet season, a season of questions, has made me uncomfortable, jabbed at my motivations, pressed me to consider what sends my emotions soaring or plummeting.
It hasn't been much fun.
Yet, He's shown me its necessity.